Team

Board of directors

Denis CAYET has ensured the development of the HORAMA project since its creation. Denis Cayet is an entrepreneur, with a vast experience in the creation of enterprises. He founded and successfully directed multiple companies in the postal sector (J+1, DIRECT, PRESTISSIMO, IMX). In 2009, he founded the Federation of Alternative Postal Actors (FAPA) that he presided over until 2012. Already involved in the biomedical domain (via the Théravectys society) since 2006, in 2012 he created the Stargardt foundation dedicated to promoting and funding research on Stargardt disease.


Christine PLACET was CEO of Trophos, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company, which developed an innovative therapeutic product for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare disease without treatment. After a positive phase 2/3 trial, the company was sold to Roche Pharmaceuticals early 2015. Christine has over 25 years experience with a strong focus on finance and business management. She spent eight years at Ernst & Young, and then acted as CFO in several growing companies and start-ups in various industries. She joined Trophos as CFO in 2004 and became CEO in June 2012.


Jean Pascal CONDUZORGUES has been founder and CEO of CRID Pharma in Montpellier (France) for 20 years. This company is specialized in pharmaceutical development and drug management for clinical trials. By merging CRID Pharma with Avogadro Company he created Amatsi group, a service company specialising in drug development based in France and the USA. Since 2013, he manages the company Ibero, a consulting firm focused on the pharmaceutical strategy of biotechnology companies.


Bruno MONTANARI is a Partner in the VC team of Omnes Capital, which is joined in 2010 and where he is currently in charge of the life sciences investments. He began his career in 1999 in London as an Investment Banker in the Healthcare Groups of Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, before joining the venture capital community first with CDP Capital, and later Atlas Venture.


Between 2003 and 2013, Leila NICOLAS held several positions in marketing and Business Development within healthcare and life sciences companies and start-up, such Bayer Schering Pharma, Polyplus-transfection and Kudzu Science. In 2013, Leila joined GO Capital (Rennes, France), a regional French venture capital firm investing in seed and early stage innovative technological companies based in the West of France. She is particularly in charge of the life sciences investments of GO Capital. Leila serves on the board of directors of innovative biotech and healthcare companies like Horama, Atlanthera, Carlina Technologies, Tricares, i-SEP, Celenys, VitamFero as well as on the board of a company in the energy sector, Kemwatt. Leila holds a master degree in Biology from the University of Bordeaux and a master degree in Business of Healthcare companies from the IAE of Lille (France).


Mounia CHAOUI is General partner at Turenne Capital in charge of venture and growth/buy out capital in Healthcare. Prior to this, Mounia has been a Life Science investor within Ventech, Inserm Transfert Initiative and Atlas Venture. She has been on the board of several companies that were either acquired like Biovex (sold to Amgen for up to 1B$), or went public on NASDAQ or Euronext (like Tigenix). Mounia holds a PhD in Biophysics and an Engineering degree from Ecole Centrale Paris..


Scientific Team

Philippe Moullier is a research director at INSERM (France) and leads the Atlantic Gene Therapy Institute (AGT) at Nantes that comprises the Inserm unit UMR1089. He is professor of the biotherapy department at Nantes University hospital, scientific director of the Boisbonne veterinary school at Nantes, and scientific director of Atlantic Bio GMP (EFS-ABG), a production platform for innovative therapeutic drugs. Philippe Moullier is a world-renowned expert in viral vector development and in gene therapy translational research. He is a member of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) review board. He is also a professor of the microbiology and molecular genetics department of the Florida University in the USA. He has published over 100 original publications in the domain of gene therapy and genetics.


Christian Hamel is Professor of Montpellier University (France) and ophthalmologist at the University Hospital of Montpellier. He is head of the team working on the “Genetics and therapy of retinal blindness and optic nerve” in the Neurosciences Institute of Montpellier (UMR1051). His research aims are the identification of causative genes and the development of novel treatments for inherited eye diseases. He heads the Reference Centre for Genetic Sensory Diseases of the Montpellier hospital. He discovered the RPE65 gene and encoded RPE65 protein, and identified the link between RPE65 mutations and congenital blindness. Christian Hamel is founding president of the Francophone Society of Ophthalmological Genetics (SGOF). He is an ophthalmic expert for the review board of the French Biomedical agency and a member of several committees world-wide that oversee the setting up of retinal gene therapy trials. He has published over 170 original publications.


Michel WEBER is a university and hospital professor, and head of the ophthalmological clinic at the University Hospital of Nantes since 2001. He is a vitro-retinal surgeon with a long experience in the subretinal administration of gene therapy products. He created a de novo clinical research team in 2000, which has been labelled “CIC” (Centre for Clinical Investigation) of the Nantes hospital since 2010. Michel Weber is a member of the French Society for Ophthalmology (SFO) and president of the Francophone Society of Retinal Specialists. He has over 60 original publications.


Guylène LE MEUR is a lecturer at the University of Nantes, and a practitioner at the University Hospital of Nantes specialised in ophtalmo-paediatrics and inherited eye diseases. She has experience in both preclinical and clinical gene therapy trials. Guylène Le Meur is a member of the French Society for Ophthalmology (SFO), President of the Loir Low Vision network, board member of the French Association of Strabology and Ophthalmo-Pediatrics (AFSOP), of the French study group for retinopathy in premature babies (GEFROP) and of the SGOF. Guylène Le Meur has over 15 original publications.


The teams of Pr Philippe Moullier and Pr Michel Weber collaborated on the first gene therapy trial in France
using an AAV vector for the treatment of a retinal disease (Leber congenital amaurosis).

Vasiliki KALATZIS is a senior research scientist at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier in the team of Pr Hamel, where she directs a group working on therapies for retinal diseases. She is a molecular biologist with a strong experience in gene therapy. She generates innovative human cellular models of retinal diseases, via stem cells generated from patients, for preclinical gene therapy studies. Vasiliki Kalatzis has over 50 publications. She was organiser of the 1st international scientific symposium on choroideremia in 2011 in Montpellier and the main inventor on the patent “Methods and pharmaceutical compositions for expressing a polynucleotide of interest in the retinal pigment epithelium of a subject (WO/2015/082690)”.

Management Team

Christine PLACET was CEO of Trophos, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company, which developed an innovative therapeutic product for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare disease without treatment. After a positive phase 2/3 trial, the company was sold to Roche Pharmaceuticals early 2015. Christine has over 25 years experience with a strong focus on finance and business management. She spent eight years at Ernst & Young, and then acted as CFO in several growing companies and start-ups in various industries. She joined Trophos as CFO in 2004 and became CEO in June 2012.


Séverine MARCONI is specialised in regulatory affairs in the pharmaceutical domain, and, in particular, as applied to orphan pathologies. Séverine received an engineering degree in biology and a Ph.D. in neurosciences. She gained significant experience in regulatory affairs while working for the Voisin Consulting Life Sciences company for 5 years.